Nkomo will break half-century hoodoo

Hambledon bowler Rupert Hetherington   Picture: Allan Hutchings

Hambledon bowler Rupert Hetherington Picture: Allan Hutchings

Chris Stone

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Shane Nkomo has been backed to break his half-century hoodoo.

Hambledon’s South African all-rounder has been out four times in the 40s in consecutive weeks.

But he came closest to reach his maiden fifty for the club in the convincing win over Paultons in Southern Electric Premier League division two last weekend.

He looked set to reach the landmark on a tricky batting deck at Ridge Meadow but was then run out for 49 after a mix up with Will Mann.

But skipper Rob Atkins is certain his leg-spinner will go on to make a big score at some stage as the Dons travel to Sparsholt tomorrow.

Atkins said: ‘Shane has been fantastic with both bat and ball.

‘He’s frustrated he hasn’t been able to go on and get a half-century yet but it is only a matter of time.

‘He has adapted very quickly to the conditions over here and he has impressed everyone.

‘His bowling has given us a bit more control in the middle overs, when we go to the spinners.

‘Him and Ian Turner have been able to help build pressure.’

Hambledon make two changes from the win last week with Atkins returning to the ranks, while opening bowler Rupert Hetherington is also available again. Mann and Dom Humphrey miss out.

But Atkins, who normally bats at number three, is attempting to strike the right balance.

He said: ‘It’s probably the strongest team we can select and the confidence is high after two wins.

‘By all accounts, it was a fantastic team performance last week in my absence and I don’t want to disrupt things too much so I will bat at six.

‘The youngsters – Prad Bains and Kyle Shinn – were tremendous with the new ball.

‘Kyle looks a different player now he is playing with a bit of confidence.

‘So I will have a look at the conditions but Rupert may have to settle for a role at first change.’

With two straight wins, Hambledon could take another step towards safety with another success.

And Atkins maintains his side are capable of competing at the other end of the table.

He said: ‘I don’t see a stand-out team in the division, although Portsmouth have obviously done very well.

‘We have improved recently and I still think we are as good as any other team on our day.

‘We have just struggled for consistency in terms of performances and team selection.’

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